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Nightmare Fuel / Persona 3

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What the world looks like at midnight, for an hour.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

  • The game's relentlessly dark and foreboding tone is established right from the opening cutscene. The protagonist is seen walking through the streets of Iwatodai, people are seen talking... and then a girl (Yukari) is attempting to summon her Persona with her Evoker... but without knowing all of this, it looks like she's about to commit suicide.
  • The cutscene of a random student finding himself in the Dark Hour for the first time. Imagine it's midnight, and the world suddenly becomes much darker than it's supposed to be. He turns around just in time to see an array of oversized coffins towering over him, surrounded by a large puddle of blood. The student's heavy breathing is accompanied by a strange dripping noise... which turns out to be a shadow coming right out of his eye, leaving him screaming in agony as he falls to his knees.
    • Even worse, it's not even his body that drops to the ground; everything above his legs liquefies into sludge.
  • The coffins contain people who are lucky enough to be spared from experiencing the Dark Hour and thus are immune to its effects. The ones who don't turn into coffins experience the Dark Hour and, unless they can summon Personas, tend to get consumed horrifyingly by Shadows in short order.
  • The mere idea of summoning personas via shooting yourself in the head. The Evokers may not function as real guns (though it should be noted the Japanese version explains that they are refurbished models of the actual thing), but summoning still involves pointing a weapon (or something that looks like one) to your head and pulling the trigger. No wonder Yukari was scared out of her mind, and the protagonist didn't exactly look too pleased when he did it either.
    • Worth noting is that most of the characters who use Evokers put them to their temples, presumably to avoid having to look down the barrel of something that closely resembles a pistol. The only exceptions are Yukari, who points hers between her eyes, Akihiko, who puts it up to his forehead... and Ken, who hunches over and puts it on his chest, right on top of his heart. Something is seriously wrong with that kid. The movie's rendition of this scene isn't exactly much better...
  • The protagonist's first summon. Right after Orpheus shows up, Thanatos claws his way out of Orpheus' body. You get to see Orpheus's head wobbling dangerously on his neck before hands just burst out of the neck, throwing the head aside, and the whole body just wriggles in the most unnatural way before long arms shoot up through the neck-stump, grab the body and then tear it apart in a shower of gore, revealing Thanatos. Which then proceeds to rip the Magician apart while screaming in fury.
    • The wailing roar that Orpheus makes when first summoned isn't exactly reassuring either.
    • Taken up to eleven in the first movie. Not only does Makoto have a flashback to his parents' deaths (already creepy enough), he grins the most evil slasher smile as he summons Orpheus for the first time. And then, when Orpheus gets some hits in (setting the roof on fire!), Makoto clutches his head and Orpheus imitates him, before his body starts convulsing from Thanatos inside. Makoto then lifts his head up and SCREAMS IN AGONY as his eyes glow bright blue. And then Thanatos bursts from Orpheus, who then proceeds to tear up the Shadow. Not helping is the reddish tint the Shadow now has when Thanatos crushes its final arm.
  • The Reaper in general, but it's what it represents that takes the cake: Stay too long on one floor and Death itself starts stalking you. Not to mention the deeply unsettling sound of rattling chains that signal it's approach.
    Mitsuru: "I sense Death. Retreat at once!"
    • God help you if your party members are separated when it appears. If you have the setting "Priority: defeat Shadows" on, your party members will fight it and will eventually fall unconscious. When that happens, the Reaper lets out an unsettling cry, and you know someone is dead.
  • How about Apathy Syndrome in general? The idea that you, your best friend, your mother, your partner, or anyone else you know could be out wandering the streets in a semi-catatonic state, slowly starving to death or dying of thirst, totally helpless to the every sadistic whim of random strangers?
    • Given the similarities and parallelisms between Apathy Syndrome and some forms of depression, this is most likely to be the desired effect on the player.
  • Throughout the school year, you will see missing person reports posted by the police, and all of these missing people end up in Tartarus, falling victim to the aforementioned Apathy Syndrome if not rescued in time. Think about it from the victim's perspective: You're lost in a dark, eerie maze, with otherworldly creatures ready to tear you apart, for hours...which is Tartarus being merciful, because of the way time flows inside; by the time you're rescued, if you're rescued, days or weeks will have passed, with your loved ones most likely scared and very concerned about where you've been. No wonder they leave you rather generous gifts (such as a big pile of items that block Light and Dark attacks) when you rescue them!
  • The side effects of Persona-suppressing drugs can be downright scary. Just ask Shinjiro according to Episode 1 of Persona Stalker Club, a Persona-themed variety show airing on Nico Nico Douga, he has to wear winter clothing all year round because his body can't regulate its own temperature anymore.
  • The Hanged Man Arcana Shadow is depicted as a large human-shaped blob of black mass attached to a floating cross-like mechanism. Notice how it is attached to the thing that makes it float? Its skin is nailed and hooked, with the stretching of the "flesh" visible to the audience. What's worse is that its idle animation will sometimes involve stretching the hooked flesh further before returning to its default pose...
  • Mitsuru's Grandfather was into human experimentation and this resulted in the 12 Shadows. It's also stated he experimented on his own granddaughter, Mitsuru, at a young age to get her a Persona.
  • Nyx. She is the actual personification of Death, responsible for creating Thanatos, the Persona that claws out of you in the beginning, and the Reaper that stalks you in Tartarus. Oh, and this thing is the Final Boss. She isn't all that terrifying if not for the fact that she is merely fulfilling her purpose; when humanity becomes too self-destructive, she will descend from her shell in the Moon and brings upon The Fall. That's right, Death itself thinks that humanity wishes for the end of the world, and so she comes to grant that!
    • The Fall itself is a very horrifying way to wipe life off the face of Earth. Every single living thing will be consumed from the inside out by its own desire for destruction. Thus everything, everywhere, will lose all sense of self and become a mindless, soulless shell that can only moan and whimper, completely unaware of its own death. And if the protagonists challenge this fate, Nyx Avatar warns that the protagonists will suffer an even more horrible fate, and then die. And in the end, Nyx proves to be unkillable even after you defeat her Avatar, and The Fall is only averted after the protagonist sacrifices himself to prove that it isn't the time for her to end humanity yet. She will come back, if humanity's mind calls her again.
    • It's worse than that still. Nyx isn't even malicious or capable of causing The Fall on her own. Instead she's meant to descend from the heavens and join with Erebus, the manifestation of humanity's collective desire to die, to bring about The Fall. Death doesn't think humanity wishes for the end of the world, we do. We want it so much that we unconsciously created a creature from the depths of the Collective Unconscious to do just that.
    • Last but not least, she is actually your friend in the form of Pharos and Ryoji, and Aigis sealed this thing inside YOU. Not only is your childhood friend actually an Eldritch Abomination, but you yourself are also a host of doom. And you still have to deal with fighting her; Nyx Avatar's battle dialogue just feels like that she doesn't even want to fight you and she's apparently bored trying to do it, both because she used to be your friend and she thinks you are absolutely no resistance to her.
    • Let's not even get started on Nyx's Avatar's nightmare-inducing face.
  • Later when Nyx's true form is revealed, people who believed in the apocalyptic rumours that Takaya and Jin were spreading throughout Port Island start randomly exploding into shadows in ecstasy!
  • The Persona 3: FES disc contains some cut tracks and beta versions of tracks, two of which are work-in-progress versions of "The Voice Someone Calls". They're much creepier than the final version; the first version is simply an eerie ambiance, while the second version has faint traces of the drum beats, which sound more like footsteps in this version.
  • The cutscene you see after you defeat "???" in The Answer. Enjoy the sight of someone dissolving, one layer of flesh at a time; starting off by giving you a good eyeful of the protagonist's blood-red, skinless, eyeless face. It ends with a closeup of their beating heart and watching their torso dissolve into butterflies.
  • Not to mention the Final Boss of The Answer, Erebus! Not helping matters is its true nature, similar to Nyarlathotep in the previous games, this thing isn't a Shadow, but a being born from the Collective Unconscious. Erebus represents humanity's unconscious desire to die, and it's unison with Nyx is what would cause The Fall should the Great Seal ever falter. Think about that for a second. We, all of humanity, actually desire death to come. And then there's the fact that the party defeating it achieves nothing but getting it off their backs. Erebus will never ever stop reviving until it's source in the Collective Unconscious fades, and that would mean that all of humanity would need to stop fearing and desiring death.
  • The form the Velvet Room takes is rather creepy. While not as oppressive as the prison in Persona 5, it still evokes a sense of unease. It's an elevator that is constantly going up, with an old-fashioned floor display constantly spinning. Sitting at a desk on the elevator is a creepy old man with a pointed nose, who addresses you with an unsettling voice. Fortunately, he's a case of Dark Is Not Evil, but he's certainly not...the most approacable.
  • If you don't find the Hot Springs Episode funny, the fact that we don't see Mitsuru's expression when she's screaming about executing the boys for the SEES girls' excuses after catching them...JUST HOW UGLY IS IT?!